Recommended - Rated 4 Stars
NES Remix 2: The fundamental premise of NES Remix 2 remains sound, but the shift in focus to more complex source material crimps its style somewhat. Thankfully, the bonus modes go a long way toward restoring some of the shine to its star. It's not quite as essential a play as its predecessor, but it offers an amusing, self-referential distraction nevertheless.
Sonic Lost World: It's no Mario, but it's getting there. This 3D platform game is perhaps Sonic's best outing in years.
Splatoon: Nintendo takes a chance with this odd, risky rethink of the arena shooter. Splatoon moves away from guns and grit, offering a shooter anyone of any age can enjoy. The game's single-player is an absolutely amazing puzzle platformer that deserves some expansion. Multiplayer is a bit light on content at launch, but Nintendo is already promising more this summer.
Nintendo Land: A celebration of a selection of old-school Nintendo games -- including a few more obscure titles -- through the medium of surprisingly compelling, addictive minigames. Particularly good if you have friends around.
Skylanders: Trap Team: While not without its questionable qualities — expect to pay $120 to get something approaching an optimal play experience — Skylanders: Trap Team continues the series' tradition of catering to kids by treating them with respect. And the new trapping gimmick more than justifies itself through the flexibility it offers... not to mention the amusing and diverse role it gives the game's villains.(Xbox One review: Wii U version is fundamentally the same)
Skylanders: Superchargers: Skylanders may have created the toys-to-life category, but there are plenty of would-be heirs to the throne this year. Faced with stiff competition from Disney, LEGO, and Nintendo, Activision and Vicarious Visions chose to fight back by focusing on quality, breadth of play concepts, and a more affordable buy-in for the game. The resulting creation is the best Skylanders game to date, and a strong competitor to all those upstarts. Even the new Skylander characters, who initially seem a bit over-designed, grow on you after a few hours of play. If you're going to invest a ridiculous amount of cash into games that link up with collectible figurines, you could do a lot worse than Superchargers.
Guitar Hero Live: Guitar Hero Live's new guitar helps bring something fresh to the genre, and offers a new challenge for both beginners and veterans alike. GH Live is fun, though a little cheesy, but it's in GHTV where the game's most interesting aspect is found. If this continues to be built out as Activision has promised, it should deliver long-term appeal - and a great way to discover new music. (PS4 review: Wii U version is fundamentally the same)
Disney Infinity 3.0: Disney Infinity suffers from some very short-term flaws (that interface, ugh!) and long-term challenges (the price of the game adds up quickly). If you're willing to grapple with those issues, however, you'll find an excellent, expansive, and remarkably well-crafted action game brimming with variety. Dabbling in nearly every genre imaginable in addition to its baseline sandbox mode, Infinity 3.0 has appeal for players both young and old—that is, whether you grew up with Luke Skywalker or just cut your teeth on Anakin and Ahsoka.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD: It's great to finally have a high-definition port of Twilight Princess - it needed one more than most. Its strong dungeon design holds up well enough, but its meandering pace is unlikely to win over its detractors. Still, if you missed it the first time, give it a look. If nothing else, Midna is still a delight.
Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE: Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE has a little bit of Fire Emblem and Shin Megami Tensei for flavor, but honestly the title stands out as its own thing. Fans of Shin Megami Tensei spinoff Persona will find a lot to love: great characters, a heavy dose of Japanese entertainment, and a solid battle system. And if you're a Wii U owner, this is a great RPG to close out the system's lifespan.
Costume Quest 2: Lightweight but inventive, Costume Quest 2 feels like a Pixar adventure masquerading as an RPG. It goes out of its way to keep things simple... perhaps too simple at times. But its simplicity is redeemed by its terrific art and wry sense of humor, and most importantly, the sheer fun of its premise. (PC review: PS4 version is the same)
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate: The hugely popular RPG from Japan has you doing exactly what it says on the box. Its multiplayer mode is superb.
DuckTales Remastered: Almost, nearly, but not quite a great update. While new looks, sounds and design tweaks give DuckTales Remastered modern appeal, spoon-feeding gameplay features and inane cutscenes peg back the enjoyment somewhat. It'll make you feel nostalgic and you'll have fun - but you'll also know that with just a little more attention to detail, it could have been truly great.
Mass Effect 3: Special Edition: A terrific sci-fi adventure that lets you choose how to navigate its rich and detailed story.
Just Dance 2014: The guilty pleasure of millions of gamers is funky great fun.
Shantae and the Pirate's Curse: With this game, a cult favorite comes into its own. Shantae has always been a passion project for WayForward, but this is the first time the series feels like it properly realizes the developer's ambition for it. A fun, funny, and pleasant substantial Metroid-alike boasting phenomenal old-school visuals and a refreshing sense of optimism, it's both an eShop standout and a great (though by no means final) conclusion to a slow-burning trilogy of games. (3DS review: Wii U version is the same)
LEGO City Undercover: A wonderfully accessible take on the open-world genre, coupled with that trademark Lego humor.
Wonderful 101: The Wonderful 101 is a great game tripped up by a drawing mechanic that may prove imprecise for some users. If Platinum's action games are your thing and you have a Wii U, it's a must-own.
Mutant Mudds Deluxe: Very enjoyable and challenging oldschool platform game that feels like it comes right out of the very early '90s.
ZombiU: This one is definitely NOT for kids. It's also not for novice gamers. But if you're an experienced gaming adult, this offers some entertainingly scary fun.
The preceding games are what we believe represent the best that Wii U has to offer right now. But which ones are our own personal favorites? Over to Team USG to reveal all.
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